Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Picket Fence Goodbye....

Almost, (I am going to say 'almost' cause although I can't remember, I am sure there is a time that I haven't...) every morning I walk my husband out to the car, give him a big kiss and wave him off for the day....and every time I do, I find it rather amusing! I wonder how many other wives on my block are giving this kind of send off to their husbands?....And how incredibly "Stepford Wife-sh" it would be if it happened on the entire street at the same time every day!

I have always loved the ideal of the 1950's and the traditional husband and wife roles in the home - Can I please cook and clean in a sexy dress and heels, with my hair perfectly set? The reality is, however, that it was an extremely oppressive time for women, 

you're kidding....right?

and I guarantee there were a lot going completely mental!

or on drugs....

 I definitely wouldn't change my time for any other. I am blessed to be able to go to university, pursue my interests/passions and enjoy the technological conveniences that allow me to do this and be a relatively successful 'housewife'.....if I so choose. 

Nonetheless, there is a certain aspect of 'traditional' that I like in my life. I love LOVE that I married a man that is, by nature, a provider and nothing makes him happier than making others (namely ME!) happy and being appreciated for it. I like making him breakfast and lunch in the morning, and ironing his shirt for work (some days I get kinda slack and distracted, but I do it most of the time!) - it's the least I can do....and in return he does all the things I don't like to do - ie folding washing when the pile gets too big.

Sometimes I think maybe I am just playing house because my previous marriage experience was nothing like this - and maybe the novelty will wear off....and I think I am kinda scared it will. Scared that the bubble will burst, because maybe I am not supposed to be deliriously happy most of the time.....I even had a nightmare about it this morning...Issues much?...

Anyway - I am just grateful for my life right at this moment and the opportunities and freedom that I have, and desperately hope the picket fence goodbyes never stop....cause I love them! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Conversation About Conversations.....

Fun fact bout me, I love my local ABC radio station....more specifically I am seriously into the  "Conversations" with Richard Fidler program....

"On any given day Conversations with Richard Fidler might take you from a remote Chinese village, to inside the cockpit of a space shuttle, to a family home in the middle of a warzone, to a hospital on the side of an African volcano, to the mysteries of the human brain, or to the pitch of the MCG. Conversations with Richard Fidler is funny, provocative and often deeply moving."

Incredibly fascinating, you must check it out! I download the podcasts, and excellently I am currently listening to 'conversations from early 2010 - which means, I have 100's more get through....awwwwesome! :)

I quite often listen to them while I am doing the domestic goddess thing - cleaning, cooking, hanging out washing etc, but also while I run.....it feels amazing being intellectually stimulated/inspired at the same time as physically challenging my body (listening to General Conference talks is also most excellent on long runs)

Anyway I have found one of late particularly inspiring - a conversation with Elif Batuman, author of the books "The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books And The People Who Read Them". This was particularly  interesting for me because, being part Russian (through my mum's side, her parents immigrated to Australia at the end of World War II), I have never read a Russian novel! Whaaat?! Even more shameful is that fact that I was named after a character in "War and Peace" and I have no idea what it is about or who wrote it. I did own a Dostoyevsky novel a few years, a nice hard cover version, but I again didn't read it and no longer have it! *sigh* 

SO....with three weeks to go until an epically long university holiday, I have set two goals for myself - One I will read no less than 5 Russian novels - starting with, of course, 'War and Peace'. Secondly, I want to start learning Russian again - I did one semester when I attended university the first time when I was 17...it was awesome, and hard and I hardly remember anything!....and as I sit here totally overwhelmed and inspired by all things Russian - I want to host a Russian Christmas (January 7th) at my house this year - yes!!! That means lots of Russian cooking and craft as well for the holidays - no, no - I am not obsessive at all!! Hahaha.....its going to be wonderful! :) 

Now I would like to slightly veer of topic for a moment, in Elif's conversation she also made reference to the fact that most Russians are not very smiley. (I was also inspired on the topic of genetic characteristics by this conversation with Joe Bageant) It got me wondering what parts of my character are genetically inherited from my Russian background.....hmmm anyway, its all rather interesting, genetic culture -I may delve into this more at another time.

Matryoshka Dolls.....
I want some for my birthday!!! :) I used to own a cute set, but my children loved them so  much when they were babies they destroyed them!

Cue my Russian obsession! :) 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meatless Monday - Cob Loaf Love....

I got the whole idea of Meatless Mondays from this page....I think its an awesome idea. Although we don't go meatless every Monday, I do try and have a couple of meat free dinners every week.

Lately we have had an over abundance of bread in the freezer because our church gets leftovers from the local bakery once a week - so I had to track down a yummy recipe to use it up! This one is perfect for a cob loaf or even a regular uncut loaf.

Layered Vegetable Cob Loaf
( Adapted from an Exclusively Food recipe here)

You will need about half a medium butternut pumpkin, two large zucchini and a large capsicum for this recipe.

270g red capsicum
550g peeled butternut pumpkin
2 tablespoons oil
350g zucchini, ends removed
250g mushrooms
1 round cob loaf, unsliced (about 20cm in diameter)
50g baby spinach leaves
150g feta cheese, crumbled or sliced
44g (1/2 cup) parmesan cheese, grated or shaved
2-3 tablespoons pesto (we used sundried tomato pesto)
Salt and pepper

(My Variations: I used green capsicum, sweet potato egg plant, zucchini and baby spinach leaves - with tasty and mozzerlla cheeses. I also used pizza sauce instead of pesto. To prepare eggplant, slice up, salt each side and rest for awhile on a clean tea towel. I just fried them in a bit of oil, make sure the oil is hot enough - or else the eggplant will absorb too much oil.)

Cut capsicum into quarters and remove seeds and membrane. Place under a very hot grill, skin side up, until
most of the skin has blackened. Remove from grill, place in a small bowl, cover and allow to cool. (I had never done this before, its super easy and the capsicum is so tasty!)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Cut pumpkin into 1/2cm slices. Place on a baking tray, toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil, season with salt and
pepper and bake for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Turn the pumpkin once during the cooking time. Set
pumpkin aside to cool.
Slice zucchini lengthwise into pieces 1/2cm thick. Cut mushrooms into 1/2cm thick slices. Toss zucchini and
mushroom with salt, pepper and remaining tablespoon of oil. Grill or pan fry until vegetables are golden and
cooked through. Set aside to cool.
Remove charred skin from capsicum. Cut capsicum into strips.
Cut a ‘lid’ from the top of cob loaf and set aside. Remove most of the bread from inside the loaf, leaving a 2cm shell.

Spread the inside of the loaf and lid with pesto.
Use about half of the pumpkin slices to line the base of the cob, pressing down firmly. Create layers with half of each of the remaining vegetables. Top with half the feta and parmesan.
Repeat the layers, pressing firmly, until all the ingredients have been used, or the cob is full. Replace the lid and tightly wrap the loaf in aluminium foil.

Place cob on a large plate and top with an unturned plate. Place something heavy on the top plate to weigh the loaf down. Refrigerate for at least a few hours to allow the loaf to consolidate.
If serving the cob hot, heat the foil-wrapped loaf in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius) for 30 to 40

If serving cold, remove the foil and place cob on an oven tray. Bake in a very hot oven (220 degrees Celsius) for 5 minutes to crisp the crust. Cut into wedges to serve. (this is what I did to reheat it the next day for lunch.....mmmmmm :)

I adore this meal - however, I would also like to note that my kids hated it and only wanted to eat the crusty bread without the fillings....whatever ;) it made for some yummy lunches for me for the next couple of days!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Worth The Wait!.....

I have been wanting a herb garden forever....so a little while ago I got really definite about it and my awesome supportive husband went and bought me some coloured tubs, potting mix and seeds to get me started.

Admittedly the soil filled tubs sat outside for a few weeks before I actually did anything!

However, in my defense, I was doing research!....I wanted to get it right - and plus, I was super freaked out that they were not going to grow....that I would over water them, or not water them enough, or that I would plant the seeds too close together....bla bla bla.....slightly over dramatic, I know, but this was my first time growing anything and I would have been totally devastated.

So anyway....I decided to stop sitting around and just plant them already - the worse thing that could happen was that I would have to try again....right? The seeds were planted, I marked my calendar, and watered them nearly every day and night. (My awesome son took over watering duty this past week, he loves the responsibility!) By day 7 I was a little concerned - nothing was happening.....I reminded myself to be patient and I kept on....

AND around day 12....

They started growing!!

The first sight of green was soooo exciting!! :) I showed my kids, I showed my husband - I was super stoked!! Within a week every plant had started growing....it was working!!! I was/AM growing a herb garden!! Yay!!

I am feeling very awesome right about now! Thinking about planing some flowers next....:)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All About Me.....

Spending a lot of time in this room, in this chair lately....
my study space!
I have been hyper-aware of myself lately....I think its a combination of temple preparation classes, study deadlines, general conference and visiting teaching (I am a newbie!). More that ever I am aware of the fine balancing act that is required to keep on top of things and to stay spiritually focused.

I am slowly beginning to understand the necessity and the immense blessings available when adhering to the principles of the gospel with exactness. (ps. super loving the Visiting Teaching messages these last couple of months!! - I swear they were just for me! :) I just have to keep striving to live them....daily! This is where the balancing act comes in.....cause its rather hard, and requires constant vigilance (love your recent post This Girl Loves To Talk! exactly what I have been thinking about lately) .

Which leads to something else that I am learning - I will never be perfect. Not that that is new a revelation...but knowing that I will almost constantly require correction to varying degrees to keep myself on track....AND more importantly, realising that this is not failure! Tomorrow will always be a new day and it will be whatever I decide to make it.

So bring on going to the temple soon, the last four weeks of uni, crazy study, brilliant marks and just awesome life in general!!! :)